Kenya: Kofi Annan to broker peace as tensions flare

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Former United Nations secretary general, Mr. Kofi Annan, has been called upon to resolve the current power tussle between Kenya’s President Mr. Mwai Kibaki and Kenya’s Prime Minister, Mr. Raila Odinga.

The show of power began when on Sunday, Feb. 14, the prime minister suspended two ministers suspected of corruption – only for the president to override the decision.

“I think that what I’ve done actually has been within my constitutional powers, and that the president does not have the powers to countermand what I have done,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

There has been an ongoing contest between the president and the prime minister over who wields the greatest power in Kenya’s cabinet dealings. Tensions are reported to be mounting in the executive arm. Both men have accused each other of overstepping their constitutional bounds.

Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga, two bitter political rivals, have struggled to work cooperatively together. Both joined together in a unity government to end violence that swept the nation after the 2007 election.

“The legal provisions on which the prime minister acted, do not confer him the authority to cause a minister to vacate his or her office,” the president’s office said in a statement to counter the decision of the prime minister.

However, the Prime Minister’s office has moved to demand the intervention of Mr. Annan. The former UN secretary general resolved the power-sharing agreement between Mr. Kibaki and Mr Odinga in 2007.

This power struggle has left most Kenyan faithless in their government. Local reports people fear that the power struggle would end any hope of winning the fight against corruption.

Recently, an audit into a maize scandal revealed that $26m (£16.5m) had gone missing, and more than $1m was stolen in an education scam. This reports led the prime minister to suspend the Agriculture Minister, Mr. William Ruto and the Education Minister, Mr. Samuel Ongeri.

There had been growing calls for ministers to resign after millions of dollars of public money were diverted, and Mr. Odinga said there was enough evidence implicating the two ministers.

But on Monday, Feb. 15, both ministers turned up for work, claiming that only the president had the power to discipline them. Nonetheless, both ministers deny any personal liability for the loss of funds.

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